I didn’t even want the thing. My ex bought it. I worked overtime for YEARS to pay it off. Now I’m selling it. Finally.
And I’m sad. Not just a little sad. Tears. TEARS. Over a CAR. Ok, a Jeep. But still…a machine.
I spent last Saturday presenting my thesis. My master’s thesis. A degree five years in the making. I cried a little at the end. Relief and a bit of fear over the future. Those tears made sense.
But this car thing confuses me. Granted, I have heard that GUYS cry over cars. Quick little tears squeezed from the corners of their eyes that they don’t let us see. But I’m not a guy. I know very little about how cars work. I’m intimidated about fixing them. So what is my DEAL?
I guess maybe there’s that Velveteen Rabbit thing.
After I moved to the Midwest to be with my ex, I drove the Jeep to work every morning. Homesick and lonely among cornfields and NASCAR, the Jeep was my friend then, my only one.
I was driving the Jeep when I realized my ex was having an affair.
I was driving the Jeep when I crossed the state line back into Oregon..HOME.
I was driving the Jeep when I started going to poetry readings (to read my poems out loud, for the first time ever), and then to promote my chapbook when it was published.
I was driving the Jeep when I started dating again, navigating through new relationships, making new friends.
This many years into my new life, the one I rebuilt a decade (a decade!!) ago, I think I forgot. I forgot how scared I was back then, being on my own for the first time since college. I forgot what it was like to move back into my own life, reclaim the self I’d given away, trying to be someone else’s perfect something.
So yeah, I guess, maybe cars can be real. When they are the body that carries us through fear, loneliness, and meeting ourselves again for the first time in a long time, then maybe they are real.
If I had processed all this yesterday, I would have asked more for the Jeepie when I listed her on Craigslist.
Within two hours of my ad going up, I had three calls, two emails, and a guy standing in my driveway with a roll of cash in his hand. They are going to lift her, give her big tires, and take her out adventuring.
I hope they are kind. I told the guy who bought her: Be good to her. He promised. But I felt guilty, so I made him promise again. And again.
And I was grateful for that guy thing, the quick little tears that we don’t have to mention.
Goodbye, Jeepie, and thank you. I hope you like your new life as much I like mine.